Estate planning attorneys often help clients create durable powers of attorney. These documents are used for incapacity planning purposes. In this post we will look at the details and examine the role of the agent.
Choosing Your Own Representatives
Incapacity is relatively common among people who have reached an advanced age. Alzheimer’s disease alone is a major threat. This disease strikes 40 to 45 percent of people who have reached the age of 85.
If you were to become unable to handle all of your own affairs, the state could be petitioned to appoint a guardian to act as your representative. This is a necessary safeguard, but clearly, you would probably prefer to choose your own representative or representatives.
You can empower your own hand-picked decision-makers through the creation of durable powers of attorney.
A power of attorney that is not specifically designated as durable would no longer be in effect if the grantor of the device was to become incapacitated. Durable powers of attorney do remain effective even if the grantor becomes incapacitated at some point in time.
When you create a durable power of attorney, the representative that you choose to act on your behalf is called the agent or attorney-in-fact. When you hear the term attorney-in-fact, you may get the wrong idea. The agent does not have to be a legal professional.
Any adult who is of sound mind can act as an agent under a power of attorney. Of course, the individual who is named in the document must be willing to act as the agent.
There are a number of things to take into consideration when you are choosing an agent. Longevity is one concern. If you want to be prepared for all eventualities, you should put your power of attorney in place sooner rather than later. The agent that you choose may not be called upon to act for many years. You should consider the anticipated longevity of the agent.
Geography is another thing to keep in mind. The agent may be handling your affairs on an ongoing basis for an extended period of time. If the agent lives on the other side of the country, this can be difficult to accomplish.
You also want to make sure that the agent is thoroughly familiar with your thinking.
Free Incapacity Planning Consultation
Incapacity planning is a must for all responsible adults. If you would like to put an incapacity plan in place, we can help.
Our firm offers free consultations, and you can click this link to send us a request: Grand Forks ND Incapacity Planning.